On the 100th birthday of our nation's 38th President, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation unveiled its commissioned model of the USS Gerald R. Ford CVN 78. The model will be displayed at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan as part of a future exhibit dedicated to the US Navy's newest aircraft carrier and new class of carriers, the Ford Class.
The model was funded through the generosity of Foundation Trustee David Frey and the Frey Foundation and will give visitors the opportunity to see the extraordinary work of the Newport News Shipbuilding.
Elaine Didier, Director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum, remarked on the gratefulness of the Museum to David Frey for his support for the model that will become the core of the Museum new exhibit. Didier also looked forward to the Museum's expansion which will include the Student Learning Center and its interactive features to illustrate why the aircraft carrier was named after Gerald R. Ford.
Captain John F. Meier, the Commanding Officer of the USS Gerald R. Ford detailed how honored he was to begin building the crew of CVN 78 named after Gerald R. Ford. Captain Meier also stated that the legacy of Gerald R. Ford will serve as the blueprint in building the crew. Captain Meier believed that Gerald R. Ford is a great role model not only for the country, but for the young generation and the US Navy for example after the attacks on Pearl Harbor he volunteered to serve his country and during the national constitutional crisis he displayed integrity to lead our country.
Admiral Tom Moore, Program Executive Officer for Aircraft Carriers who is responsible for the design and construction of the US Navy's aircraft carriers, also spoke to the USS Gerald R. Ford and what it means to the US Navy. The new carrier will be the most advanced and efficient carrier ever built with the latest advancements and able to transform to the technological updates in the years to come.
The President of Newport News Shipbuilding Matt Mulherin represented the 22,000 employees who are working to complete the nation's newest aircraft carrier. The shipbuilders are dedicated to delivering a ship to the Navy that will truly honor the legacy of President Gerald R. Ford and work daily to provide the nation with the world's greatest carrier. Mulherin thanked the Ship Sponsor, Susan Ford Bales, for being part of their team as Susan herself has joined in building parts of CVN 78. Mulherin presented Susan with a special gift from Newport News Shipbuilding, a handcrafted newspaper ad made from the steel of CVN 78 that ran in the Grand Rapids Press.
Susan Ford Bales concluded by thanking the crew, the officers and her fellow shipbuilders for joining together in honoring her father for everyone's effort in building CVN 78. Susan believed that her father would be honored knowing that his name would be associated with the crew and future crews of CVN 78 for years to come. Susan presented Captain Meier with the first copy of over 160 transcriptions that are the Gerald R. Ford Oral History collection from family, friends, co-workers, and others from throughout his life. Susan was joined by members of the crew and shipbuilders in unveiling the model.